Recreational Fishing at Risk?
Congressman John Culberson and 60 of his House colleagues recently wrote a letter criticizing the interim report published by the Obama Administration’s Interagency Ocean Policy Task Force. Culberson is concerned that the interim report is a veiled effort to prohibit recreation on our nation’s oceans.
The task force has not taken into consideration the input provided by recreational fishermen and fishing organizations on the economic impact of the industry and contributions the fishing industry makes to protect and conserve the marine habitat.
According to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Association’s Fisheries Service, recreational saltwater anglers pumped more than $31 billion into the U.S. economy in 2006, with Florida, Texas, California, Louisiana, and North Carolina receiving the largest share. At the national level, saltwater anglers are estimated to have spent $5.8 billion on trip-based expenses, such as ice, bait, and fuel, and another $25.6 billion on fishing equipment and durable goods like fishing rods, fishing tackle, and boats.
These are important contributions that must be taken taken seriously as the Obama Administration continues to develop its ocean policy.
In addition to being an economic driver for Texas and the nation, recreational fishermen are some of most dedicated marine conservationists. Local and national fishing organizations are often the leaders and experts on coastal and marine conservation. Recreational fishermen have a long history of contributing both time and money to protecting the health of the oceans.
If recreational fishing is prohibited, it will be just another boundary the government has overstepped!